New Stall Application
As I am sure you are aware, a jury this summer returned a verdict requiring Parx to pay almost $8 million as a result of the tragic accident that resulted in the death of Mario Calderon. The jury found that Parx was negligent in not addressing the problem of chickens, which may spook horses, being present on the track. One of Parx’s defenses – which the jury and trial judge rejected – was that this accident was the product of the known risks of the racing business.
In the wake of this jury verdict, Parx approached PTHA with proposed revisions to the Stall Application which would have had the effect of requiring horsemen – trainers and owners – to release and hold Parx harmless from virtually any claim relating to anything that happens at the track. Parx also sought to include language which would have made owners and trainers responsible for each other’s actions, and which would have required trainers to bind their owners, employees, jockeys and other vendors to such provisions.
We are pleased to report that, after several months of hard fought negotiations, we have succeeded in backing Parx off most of its demands, which we believed were unfair and, arguably, contrary to the Live Racing Agreement.
We now have agreed with Parx on the substance of a new Stall Application. In most key areas, the language is similar to the prior Stall Application. We have agreed on some limited changes which address Parx’s legitimate concerns and, more important, which we believe to be fully appropriate and in line with standard commercial agreements in a modern business setting such as ours. The changes generally include the following areas:
• A provision which recognizes the inherent risks of racing, but which makes clear that Parx is responsible for any injuries caused by its own negligence (just like the Calderon situation)
• Horsemen will be required to report dangerous conditions on the premises to Parx (and not solely to PTHA) both at the time they sign the Stall Application and thereafter.
• Anyone entering the backside will be required to have proof of adequate insurance coverage and to acknowledge the inherent risks of the track. Horsemen will cooperate with Parx in having third parties, such as vendors, complete appropriate documentation in this regard.
• Any dispute, except for disputes involving injury claims, must now be submitted to binding arbitration for resolution (just as is required under the Live Racing Agreement)
• Personal injury claims will be decided in the Bucks County Courts.
Parx is printing and soon will be distributing new Stall Applications, as well as “Access Forms” to be signed by persons not subject to the Stall Applications, which will go into effect on November 1, 2014. We have scheduled a meeting to take place on Saturday, October 11, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. at the recreation hall at the track to fully discuss the new Stall Application. Our lawyers from Archer & Greiner, P.C., who negotiated this with Parx, will be present and available to answer any questions you may have. We encourage all of our members to attend and to invite persons who frequently come to the track to do business with you.